Steve Dickson's blog
Primary elections (and a runoff election of note) were held on June 24th in numerous states. Candidates for office were chosen to represent various political parties. The voters spoke one way or another. Millions of dollars were spent. The airwaves were clogged with advertisements, the mailboxes with literature, and the streets with signs. All of this should be changed, and here is why.
The purpose of a primary election is to select candidates for the general election. In many states, such as Oklahoma, the primary is "closed", meaning only those who are registered to vote Republican by a certain date may vote in the primary election. The reason for this restriction is that the primary election is the process to select the candidate that will represent that political party - and the platform, beliefs, values and virtues of that party - in the general election. In other states, there is an "open" primary, meaning anyone registered to vote can cross party lines (which obviously can present some serious problems).
Problem #1: Campaign Finance
In a "closed" primary state, frequently whoever spends the most money wins. While spending money is certainly an expression of free speech and should not be restricted politically, "purchasing" elections is a serious issue. There are two major Supreme Court decisions that have dramatically changed the landscape of elections. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission freed independent groups such as labor unions, corporations and associations to spend whatever they want on an election - as long as it is independent of the candidate's campaign. McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission struck down aggregate donations to political parties and candidates - meaning, there is no longer a cap on what an individual can donate (it was $117,000 for every two years to national parties plus federal candidates, with $46,200 of that being to candidates and the rest to a political party). Both of these decisions are good Constitutional rulings. The left frequently complains we need to reform "campaign finance" and "campaign spending", but they would do so at the expense of our Liberty. There is another way, which will be addressed shortly, that decreases the impact and influence of donations when choosing who the Party will nominate for office. The sad result is this - our elections have become auctions.
Problem #2: The Platform
The 4th Amendment of the Constitution reads:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
For reference, here is the Oath of Office sworn by all members of Congress:
On Saturday, March 23rd, 390 people representing 152 precincts gathered to hold the 2013 Oklahoma County Republican Convention. Eight elections were held: Chair, Vice Chair, State Committee, State Committee, 4th Congressional District Committee, 4th Congressional District Committee, 5th Congressional District Committee, and 5th Congressional District Committee. I ran for Chair, in this largest of all counties in the State of Oklahoma.
I lost by 18 votes.
This is an amazing number for several reasons. I am not a long time party activist. Indeed, I took a very long break – from 1995 to 2011 – with almost zero political activity. I spent that time as a “normal person”, getting married, finishing college, having two different careers and starting a third, and creating four children with my wife. I did some things right and some things wrong, but just tried to make my way in the world. I’m a dad, an employee, and a taxpaying citizen of Oklahoma.
Here is a South Carolina 6 year old kicked out of school for bringing a toy gun to school (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/s-student-6-expelle...).
How about this Philadelphia story of a paper gun resulting in the same punishment(http://bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-paper-gun-gets...)?
Another child was kicked out for "threatening" to use her "Hello Kitty" gun - but she didn't even have it at school... she is 5 years old (http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/Kindergartner-B...).
A pair of 6 year old boys in Maryland were playing "cops and robbers" and were suspended. Obviously, they are a serious threat (http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/01/15/parents-furious-aft...).
Have you had enough of this idiotic behavior? These administrators are completely out of control - and they are everywhere. These stories are all from the last few weeks - all in January 2013. There are plenty more, and there will be more in the future. The goal is to demonize the very idea of guns, instead of bad behaviors with weapons, or bad behavior in general.
Objects are not good or evil, people are.
Most Americans are not involved in politics. According to the U.S. Census (which is only current through 2010), about 35% of the population votes in non-presidential election years, and about 50-55% vote in presidential election years. So only half the public bothers to vote for President. Every other election a little more than a third picks the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate. Most people think that voting is enough. It is NOT. I would call it a minimum standard for being a citizen. This is really only half of the way someone can influence how our nation is governed.
The other half of the equation – political parties – is a murky world that we are told is difficult to understand, expensive to participate in, and boring with no reward. There is a reason we are told this lie. Those who control the political parties have a vested interest in maintaining control of them. With a larger number of people involved, it becomes more difficult to control who runs for office, who receives campaign support including both financial support and volunteer help, and what agenda is served. Let me be clear:
Political parties are a tool to win elections.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. - 2nd paragraph, Declaration of Independence
All legislative Powers herein vested shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, - Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the United States (and similar language with Article 2, Section 1 on the Executive and Article 3, Section 1 on the Judicial powers)
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain Rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Amendment IX, Bill of Rights
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or the people. Amendment X, Bill of Rights
A grave injustice has been done, and a failure needs to be addressed. The heavily Republican Oklahoma Congressional Delegation is positioned nicely to make a huge impact. They can advance the cause of conservative government - which is something they all ran for office claiming they would do. Now is the time to act, and stand, and be counted. First, the injustice:
Four Congressmen have been removed from positions because of their conservative positions. This was something the GOP leadership apparently had a problem with. Representatives Justin Amash (R-Michigan) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) were removed from the Budget Committee. Representatives Walter Jones and (R-North Carolina) and David Schweikert (R-Arizona) were removed from the Financial Services Committee. Here is an article from Red State about this purge, and the records of these men. Fortunately, Oklahoma has some influence on the committee that makes these decisions.
Newly elected to the Chair of the House Policy Committee is Oklahoma's 5th District Representative James Lankford (McCarville Report story on that here). By virtue of this position he is on the Steering Committee for the GOP House Conference. Former Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tom Cole, representing Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District, is also on the Steering Committee. Representative Frank Lucas - from Oklahoma's 3rd Congressional District - has been renamed Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, a position of great influence (there are only 19 spots such as the one he holds). These three men in particular have major influence on their colleagues. Representatives Lankford and Cole, in particular, are on the actual committee (the Steering Committee) responsible for this attack on conservatives, and should do all in their power to reverse this and future purges of those who would uphold our Republican Platform.
My mother is someone I frequently describe as “June Cleaver”. She has led a truly charmed life, and as a result has a very happy and rosy outlook. This last year has been difficult for our relationship. We have had increasingly difficult discussions about politics, raising children, and life in general. I have made sincere efforts to get through to her, and she to me, but we disintegrate into heated discussions almost every time we see each other. This forced me to evaluate both my own perspective and hers. An epiphany struck me when I did so:
I have been asking the wrong questions.
A quote has been attributed to both Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling. It goes “To be born and Englishman is to win first prize in the lottery of life.” You could say this lottery-winner status shifted to the United States after World War II, and that the peak of the last century was the era from 1950 to just before President Kennedy was shot. It was certainly a great time to be an American. My mother graduated from high school in 1958. This should give you a clear picture of who she was, and who she is today is a direct result. With this in mind, I began to look for what defined her beliefs in a general way. I came up with a stunning divergence with my own perspective: she has faith in the institutions of society.
This is the core disagreement we have. Her faith is in direct opposition to my lack of it.
Since the Republican National Convention in Tampa, I have been spending my free time working to get Darrell Sorrels elected as Sheriff of Oklahoma County. I would encourage all of my friends in the Liberty Movement to find a candidate they like and get busy. Here are some recent posts I have made about this race:
An amazing act of stupidity has occurred at the 2012 GOP National Convention. Two Rule changes have been proposed, that would shift control of the Republican Party out of the hands of grassroots activists and into the hands of political power brokers. The first change - to Rule 15 - has met with such overwhelming opposition, from the grassroots, Tea Party, Liberty Movement (a.k.a. Ron Paul crowd) and conservative activists stretching back to the Goldwater era, that it has been pulled in a "compromise". Except it's not any such thing - it leaves one Rule change in place that must not stand.
There are many different ways to define the differences between a republic and a democracy, but at the core is this:
A Republic is ruled by the Law, a Democracy is ruled by the Majority.
That may seem a simple explanation, but it is a core issue. Benjamin Franklin is frequently attributed to this quote and he may not have said it, but I like it:
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Political Conventions are a flurry of different activities. Although business is conducted that is very serious, there are a number of events to attend for the Delegates, Alternates, and their guests. This year's GOP National Convention is no different. The big show starts off with "The Welcome Event" at Tropicana Field, billed as the "largest welcome event in the history of the Convention". This is where it gets interesting.
This morning, at 9 a.m. local time, the seven member Committee on Contests of the Republican National Committee (RNC) held a hearing regarding a challenge to the At-Large delegation from Oklahoma to next weeks Republican National Convention. The Contestants were represented by non-attorney representatives Porter Davis and Mike Stopp, with Qadoshyah Fish available as a witness. The Respondents were represented by legal counsel and had as witnesses Oklahoma GOP Chairman Matt Pinnell along with 2012 OK GOP Convention Chair Marc Nuttle.
Although there were many issues of dispute at the May 12th, 2012 Oklahoma GOP Convention, the Contestants decided to focus on just one: a Roll Call Vote. On July 26th, 2012, an official Statement of Grounds was filed with the Secretary of the Republican National Convention, Demetra DeMonte, along with notification to each of the challenged potential At-Large Delegates and At-Large Alternates. A challenge against improper procedures and the breaking of rules does not go against those who broke the rules, but against those who, through no fault of their own, may benefit from the actions of others. Over $600 was spent on postage of the small amount of funds raised for this challenge, mostly for registered letters - each of which cost $11.80.
On Thursday, July 26th, 2012, a group of concerned Delegates and Alternates representing the Precinct, County, District, State and National levels filed a Challenge with the Committee on Contests. At this time, we have chosen not to publicize the details, nor are we seeking press, aside from informing interested parties here on the Daily Paul. Today we are filing the Statement of Position, which is basically a legal brief with supporting evidence. We were given this deadline Monday night, so time has been short.
As a parent of four kids, two of whom are in the public school system, I am always on alert for dangers to my children from a source many may not consider - the school system. There are direct threats, that are easy to see, and there are indirect threats, which are hidden but often do more damage in the long run. We as parents put our trust in the school system. We rely on it to protect our children, while educating them.